What does the term ‘pop music’ mean to you? Does it have connotations of youth, rebellion and the generation gap? Do the words; ‘dangerous’, ‘innovative’ or ‘exciting’ spring readily to mind? Or does the term align itself more with ‘soundtrack’, ‘uniformity’ or, dare I say it, ‘boredom’?
The answer probably lies with your age. If you are at the more youthful end of the demographic (let’s be generous and say, ooh, under thirty) pop music may be perceived as part of the establishment. Whilst it might be produced by young people – and even that contention is a bit shaky with the Rolling Stones still in circulation – it is used by the grown-up commercial world to further its own interests, almost without mercy.
Popular music has become embedded into almost every aspect of everyday life; so much so that we hardly notice it is there. It adds the soundtrack to every film we see at the cinema and every programme we watch on television and even the adverts and continuity between programmes. It plays in shops and restaurants, airports and sports stadiums. It seems that there is no business or public place that does not use popular music as a background to its own endeavours. In short: there is no escape and it has become inextricably linked to the adult world.
But it wasn’t always like this.